DeWitt Twp, Mich. (WLNS) The DeWitt Township Board of Trustees voted unanimously to deny a special use permit that would have allowed Carl Schlegel, Inc. to operate a controversial new mine.
The decision came after more than three hours of public comment Monday night, with most residents opposing the mine.
Many addressed concerns about traffic along Clark Road, increased noise, the potential for air and water pollution, and decreased home values.
Mark Schlegel, owner of the property located at East Clark and Boichot roads said the proposed site would have been used to mine aggregates, which generally includes sand and gravel, key ingredients in making concrete, and asphalt. He said DeWitt is an area that happens to have gravel in the ground.
“Once we locate material it is where is is. That’s not something we get to choose,” Schlegel said.
In 2008, Schlegel applied for a rezoning of the property, but it was denied by the planning commission and the township board.
This time, the special use permit was approved by the planning commission, but Monday night the board again voted against the request.
Under state law, local ordinances cannot prevent the extraction, by mining, of valuable natural resources from any property unless very serious consequences would result from the extraction of those natural resources.
It’s a serious consequence when the neighborhood that will be sandwiched between the two mines have to live with the noise all day, the backing up of the trucks, the noise of the machinery and the dust that will be created,” Faye Hagy, an area resident said.
The law states there at six factors that are to be considered determining whether very serious consequences would result, including:
(a) The relationship of extraction and associated activities with existing land uses.
(b) The impact on existing land uses in the vicinity of the property.
(c) The impact on property values in the vicinity of the property and along the proposed hauling route serving the property, based on credible evidence.
(d) The impact on pedestrian and traffic safety in the vicinity of the property and along the proposed hauling route serving the property.
(e) The impact on other identifiable health, safety, and welfare interests in the local unit of government.
(f) The overall public interest in the extraction of the specific natural resources on the property.
Township officials, however, said those facts are subjective, meaning it is up to them to determine how the mine would impact the community. Trustees determined that it could in fact cause “very serious consequences” for residents in the community.
“You have restored my faith in the township’s decision making process,” Hagy said at the end of the meeting.